Despite the World Boxing Organization’s order to defend against Puerto Rican mandatory challenger Oscar Collazo, newly-crowned minimumweight champion Melvin Jerusalem could still end up making a choice defense against one of three Japanese fighters ranked in the top 15.
“I think it’s not yet final,” Jerusalem told Daily Tribune yesterday from Cebu where he spends his training.
Jerusalem, who knocked out Masataka Taniguchi in the second round to win the WBO 105-lb strap in Osaka early last month, said his handlers are trying to work out a defense on Japanese soil.
With the exception of Taniguchi, other Japanese boxers rated are brothers Yudei (No. 3) and Ginjiro Shigeoka (No. 6) and Tsubasa Koura (No. 12).
Taniguchi dropped to No. 5 following the brutal beating he absorbed from Jerusalem at the EDION Arena on 6 January.
Still, Jerusalem is not leaving any stone unturned in his bid to make a successful defense of the title.
Presently the country’s lone world champion, Jerusalem has kicked off his training under the watchful eyes of tactician Michael Domingo in Mandaue.
Currently weighing 122 lbs, Jerusalem should drop gradually to a more manageable weight in the coming weeks as he revs up for the initial defense of his crown.
Domingo, who was once a feared world contender, is not concerned at all that the country’s newest ring sensation is starting to slack off.